Disclaimer – I do not own Bleach.
Around the tenth division, everyone busied themselves with finishing their work on the last day. The belief of letting worried go for the new year held fast, despite the fact that the Winter War hadn't ended that long ago. Hitsugaya wished to finish his paperwork so that he could go spend his time with his grandmother in the Rukongai along with Hinamori.
He felt more comfortable traveling back there with the small female, partially due to the fact that he still felt the nagging fear of possibly killing his granny with his sharp, cold reiatsu. However, there was also the fact that he preferred to still distance himself from the villagers despite how far he had come among the shinigami ranks.
During the first three days of January, he feared that Hinamori was always more likely to blab about his rank. Why tell such a thing to people who had constantly scorned you? Sure, they might lavish praise on you for once, but they were doing it simply due to the pride and honor you brought them, not because they truly thought any differently about you.
Of course, he still hadn't really started speaking again with his child hood friend. They hadn't spoke on Christmas, a holiday he paid not much mind to, but Rangiku and Momo simply went crazy for. They hadn't spoke on his birthday either, the only mentioning of it coming from a certain taicho, who yet again left quite a bit of candy. This year, the present consisted of a few games, now stuffed untouched in his treasure drawer.
He blinked a couple of times, his eyes becoming heavy. "Seriously... you can take a nap once you've finished this."
"Taicho... are you talking out-loud to yourself?" The voice caused his eyes to lower again, only to snap back up. His head had suddenly out of the blue started pounding and he felt dizzy.
"I don't know what you are talking about Matsumoto. I've got to finish this paperwork before the new year. I wouldn't be stuck in this mess if you did more of your fare share around here." The child felt his body almost fall forward.
"Taicho... are you all right?" Rangiku now moved from where she had been lounging, the place that was his spot for napping when he got his work finished.
"Matsumoto, I would be all right if you would in fact do your paperwork." The boy set the paper down and then went to another. He didn't look up, but suddenly felt the female's cold hand on his forehead. She called out his title to get his attention. He simply brushed it off, and simply commented. "Rangiku... could you leave you're hand there. It feels nice and cool."
"Taicho... sweetie..." The woman almost never called him sweetie, or kid in that matter, unless she felt the need to talk down to him. It rarely happened but he hated it and his teal eyes glanced up in irritation and he pushed her hand a way, despite the fact it in truth did feel good. "Taicho... you've got a fever."
"I do not," the boy protested. "I can't have one of all times. I've got to get this finished."
"Uh huh." At that, Rangiku pulled the papers away from him. "Sorry Taicho, but I am going to be taking these from you."
"Matsumoto!" The small taicho stood up, his head spinning badly as he did so, his dragon lecturing him about the fact that his fukutaicho was in fact correct. "If I let you do any of the paperwork, you won't ever finish."
"Before I start in on this I'm going to..."
Toshiro rudely interrupted her, yelling as he did so. "Go get yourself drunk on sake? Feel your stomach with new years treats? How is that different from the other years! I am sick and tiered of you abandoning me to do this all by myself!"
"I am going to go get a member of the forth division," the woman stated, her face twisting up as if he had something stuck on his own.
"Matsumoto!" The boy felt his anger growing. He stormed around his desk as she headed towards the door. "I don't have a fever! This is just you trying to find some... excuse..."
As it suddenly became harder to talk, he suddenly felt himself falling forward, and he heard Matsumoto yell out at him and could hear her come rushing over. His body hit the ground hard, and an ache spread through his body. He felt major shivers running down his spine, not at all the cold of his zampaktuo His body also found itself twitching. "Taicho..."
At that, he felt himself lifted into her arms and supported, his teal eyes closed due to the embarrassment of her being right and how rudely he had treated her. A hand reached up to brush his hair. "I'm going to go get the forth division."
"Don't leave..." Hitsugaya could feel his body leaning into her soft chest. Despite the fact he shouldn't have been thinking that kind of thing, it was much better then the hard floor. It reminded him of when his grandmother held him when he was sick. "Please... Ran-chan."
"Goodness... you're bad." He then felt himself lifted up into her arms, and then carried out of the room.
"Not the forth division. Please." He muttered burring his head into her chest. Forth division meant being stuck there for the entire new year, Unohana Taicho's orders. That also meant not going and seeing a certain relative. One he hadn't seen since before the whole mess with Aizen.
"Taicho..." The woman simply continued carrying him.
"Matsumoto Fukutaicho. What ever is the matter with Hitsugaya Taicho?" came the voice of one of the tenth division members.
"Either he's worked himself to the bone again or he's come down with something nasty," Rangiku stated. "Please... send for someone from the forth division. I'm going to take him back to his quarters and try to make him comfortable."
Toshiro felt himself clutched to the woman's chest and then he felt her open the door to his room, and then head over to his bed and then lay him down. She then began to remove the outer layer of clothing. She then went out to the pump and pumped some water and came back in, dabbing cool water onto the boy's forehead. His body jolted though when the cloth toched his forhead, his body not liking the cool cloth. Rangiku spoke softly to him, his body calming, his mind blanking out to that around him.
When he woke up, it was to the sound of someone moving about in his room. Glancing towards the door, he happened to see that it was opened up. The sun came in and it clearly showed that the sun was setting. "Paperwork..."
"I already took care of the paperwork taicho. It is in fact all finished and you don't have to worry about it. I also... did a few other things. The female moved so that she could sit on the edge of the bed. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine..." came the lying response. "Tomorrow..."
"Gomenasai taicho, but you will not be going to your grandmother's any time soon," the woman stated. "You are under Unohana's orders to have bed rest. You can't even lift you own body up out of the bed and likely won't be able to for a few days."
"But..." The two teal eyes clamped shut, frustrated that his plans and worries had been for nothing. "Promised."
"Yourself, or your granny?" The woman pulled the sheets closer to his chin, only to have them be pushed away.
"Too hot..." His body twisted weakly onto his back and he glared and sulked at the ceiling.
To his surprise, Rangiku began to pull the clothing on his torso away so that she could take a cold cloth to his hot skin. "She would rather you stay in bed taking care of yourself. Plus, I think Hinamori will let her know what is going on when she goes."
"Not fair..." The small child taicho's words bumbled out.
"I know its not fair. I wish you could go, but you are way too sick." Her hands paused as he shook his head at her.
"No... you..." A wet cloth was placed on Toshiro's forehead.
"You're worried that I won't be able to go out drinking with the guys like I usually do?" Rangiku shook her head. As he muttered an apology, she simply shook her head. "Taicho... if I recollect, you weren't happy earlier about me going out corralling."
"Sorry..." The boy's head turned away and she knelt down next to him, brushing his hair out of his eyes, only to have Hitsugaya avoid her eyes. "None of my business..."
The woman stopped, watching the boy carefully. "You are rather in a depressed mood, aren't you?"
Suddenly, his demeanor changed and he tried to force himself up. Instead, he simply turned over onto his side and found himself looking her straight in the face. "Go. I can take care of myself."
Rangiku tried smiling at the small boy, but could only shake her head. "Unohana says you are not to be left alone."
"I'm sorry that your new year got ruined Matsumoto. You aren't able to spend it with your friends any more then I am able to spend it with my grandmother." Toshiro closed his eyes, his head hitting the pillow, finding it comfortable.
"Well, the new year isn't just about spending time with friends. It is also about spending time with your family. Sure, Gin isn't around anymore, but then... he never was around was he? I've still got you." Rangiku glanced at the table. "Do you want something to drink?"
"What did you say?" Two teal eyes blinked in confusion.
"If you wanted something to drink," the woman stated, her whole persona bubbling over.
"No. Before that. Why would you say that?" The boy tried sitting up again.
"Do you want something to drink?" Rangiku asked again. "I said it, because truth is, I meant it."
Toshiro's head nodded his head and the fukutaicho held the glass up to his lips. After a few sips to help satate his dry throat, he spoke up again. "But why? Why me? There isn't anything special about me."
"I wouldn't say that is true. I am not talking about your rank, or how you are a child genius. It was just... when I first met you, I felt drawn to you for some reason or another. I got the odd feeling that you were my little one. It's hard to explain." The woman watched as he slowly fell back asleep.
The next time he woke up, it was from Rangiku nudging him. Glancing beyond her robust figure, he saw that the door to his place remained open. However, it was also late at night. "Medicine?"
"Would you like something to eat and to see the fireworks? They are going to be going off soon." Matsumoto's face had a rather angelic smile.
"You... want something..." Toshiro buried his head into his pillow, miffed that she was watching him. "Matsumoto..."
"What taicho? If you want to see the fireworks, you need to come over here with me," the female stated.
"I do want to, but..." Hitsugaya suddenly felt her turning him over, then lifting him up and then moving him over to where she had put out two futons on the ground. She sat down with him between them, supporting his small body with hers so that he could see the sky. The colored lights flashing in the night sky suddenly went off.
His mind numbed and he simply watched, while he heard Matsumoto getting into something. "Are you hungry."
"Yes... but..." As Toshiro spoke up, he felt some food pushed into his mouth with chopsticks. His head in truth found itself to dizzy and his stomach to empty to complain, though something felt odd about the situation. Every so often Matsumoto would eat something too, and she spoke to him about the different foods, what she liked best, what she didn't like so much.
She also had one arm wrapped around his chest. At first, he thought it was simply to help him sit up, his body going limp. However, it was as if she didn't want to let go. While confusion reigned, he simply stared at the sky, watching the fire works, until they finally died down. He then spoke up. "Why did you do this for me?"
"I wanted you to enjoy your New Year. It is the one time of the year I know you are sure to enjoy yourself, and getting sick kind of threw that out of the window." The woman lay him down in one of the futons, then went to sleep in one of the others, pulling the door shut.
"Hey... Matsumoto... I was going to ask earlier." Two teal eyes watched her carefully.
"What were you going to ask?" Rangiku again reached to brush back his hair.
"Why haven't you learned bankai?" The hand paused in his white hair.
"Where did this come from?" The female's voice tightened.
"I'm holding you back from doing what you want to do, becoming a captain, aren't I?" Toshiro weakly rolled over onto his back. "You're always having to mother me. You could, if you wanted to, be a great taicho."
"I don't want to be a taicho any more then you ever did." Rangiku watched as Hitsugaya turned his head towards her. "I am quite happy doing what I am doing right now."
"Acting like a wet nurse to some snot nosed brat who can't tell one way or another in a social setting? How can you enjoy that?" Toshiro's voice suddenly showed frustration. "You're just saying that too... too..."
"Too make you feel better?" Matsumoto's tone of voice gained as sad tone to it. "My dream... my dream was to have a family with Gin. I can't have that dream anymore."
"You will eventually find someone who will make you happy." The boy rubbed his eyes sleepily.
"I don't want to find someone knew. I doubt I'll ever find someone who... who feels as right to be with as Gin." The woman reached out again and brushed the small taicho's hair.
"But then how are you going to have the family you want? You want you're own little one, right" A yawn was let out.
"Taicho... I already have that family. You may not be my blood kin, but I told you earlier... I think of you as my little one." There was a moment of silence.
Toshiro piped up, another yawn escaping. "Rangiku... is there something you want to say?"
"Ever since I saw you, I actually wanted to adopt you as my own, but... I also didn't want to take you away from your Granny. Taicho, I don't think you quite understand things. I mean, I could go and change my name to yours, but it wouldn't change the fact that I was in fact taking you away from her to do so. That seems cruel, doesn't it?"
"If you adopt me, then Granny can be your mother. You can come visit her next New Year with Momo and me."
"That is true." The woman let out a sigh.
"Please..." came the voice that simply was fading away.
"Please, would you adopt me as your own? You wouldn't have to change your name. I'd change mine, but I don't think Yamamoto would appreciate that. I really want you to be my mother Matsumoto, and if you adopt me, I don't have to say your mothering me is inappropriate due to our professional relationship."
"Is this what you want?" Rangiku asked, suddenly hearing an acknowledging reply and a few snores.
Sleep filled the next day for the small taicho, though Rangiku woke him up a few times. He eventually woke up and blinked, seeing Hanataro watching over him. He sat up slightly. "Where is Matsumoto Fukutaicho?"
"She had to go do something. It is the second of January, by the way," the young forth division member helpfully offered.
"I've been asleep that long." Toshiro closed his eyes at this. "I must have dreamed that talk with Matsumoto. If what she said is true, she would have stayed with me."
"Unless it was an emergency." The icy dragon had an odd way to help.
"Where did she go?" The small boy lay back down.
"She said she was heading out to your grandmother's with Ise Fukutaicho. She's been in and out of your room the last few days, but she happens to have been here most of the times you've woken up. It must mean you're starting to get better." Hanataro watched him carefully. "Do you need anything Hitsugaya Taicho?"
"No..." His eyes closed. "That wasn't an emergency..."
"Shiro-chan? I mean, Hitsugaya Taicho?" A soft voice came from the doorway and Toshiro's head popped up, his eyes falling onto Hinamori.
"Good morning," came his muttered reply.
"It's the afternoon actually," Hinamori walked over to him.
"How was Granny?" the small boy asked. "She isn't too worried is she?"
"She's... fine." Momo fidgeted a bit.
"Did you see Matsumoto while you were there?" Toshiro asked, suddenly sitting up. "You wouldn't happen to know why she and Ise headed out there?"
"What..." Hinamori's mouth dropped and then she swallowed. She turned her small head away. "Actually... truth of the matter is, I never went to see her."
"Hi... Hinamori..." Hitsugaya's lips turned into a frown, his hand reaching out to touch her sleeve. "How is she not going to worry about where both of us are? We always visit her on the new year? What were you doing?"
"I went and spent the new year with Renji and Kira..." the female stated. She watched as the look of indignity appeared on the small taicho's face.
"Why?" The small boy didn't understand this one bit.
"Because, I can't be living with the old. I've got to get over Aizen somehow."
"By abandoning Granny?" Toshiro's voice snapped out.
"You left her to join the academy! You did the abandoning first!" Hinamori stated. "Our family began to break apart when you stopped calling me your sister! You've made it clear, family isn't important to you."
"That wasn't very nice to say," came a voice from the door way. Rangiku stood there, holding some papers in her hands.
"Matsumoto... what have you been up to?" Toshiro let out a sigh, his body losing energy simply by having to hear Momo berate him. Hanataro got up to leave.
"I visited your Granny... for a reason. She was concerned because Hinamori didn't come and she is glad you are getting better. Taicho... it is all right you know, to call Hinamori your sister when it is just the two of you, or the three of us, or around us, including your grandmother."
"He won't ever do it," Hinamori snapped out. "What did you go visit Granny for? I mean... you couldn't have possibly have known I hadn't gone, so there was no need to tell her about Shiro-chan being sick."
Rangiku choose to ignore her, then handed the stack of papers over to her small taicho. "This is just a copy of the papers, but it is now official."
"He shouldn't be reading while he is sick, should he?" Hinamori's forehead wrinkled up.
However, Toshiro took the papers from her and his eyes went wide. "You went and got this done right away?"
"It's a done deal taicho." Matsumoto had a huge smile on her face.
Momo watched as a smile spread on the small taicho's face. She leaned over to look at the papers. "Adoption papers? Don't those usually take time for the paperwork to go through?"
"I had some help from Ukitake and Kyoraku Taicho with this," Rangiku stated.
"But... this is rather sudden." Hinamori glanced at the ground, then suddenly glared at Toshiro. "You... why didn't you tell me? I never thought you would want to be adopted. You didn't let me have any say in this."
Toshiro's teal eyes looked at her, confusion on his face. "You object to this?"
Momo paused for a few seconds. "Yes. We're family. We're supposed to be family. Yet you didn't even think to ask me about this. I like Matsumoto, but this... I shouldn't have to be happy about it. I have my complaints and concerns about this."
"If I start calling you Momo-nee-san, would it be all right if Rangiku comes with us to New Years next year?" The small taicho had a hopeful look on his face.
Hinamori's mouth opened, then shut closed. She then gave the small soul reaper a hug. "Gomenasai. I won't argue against this. I think I need some time to find myself."
At that, Toshiro's teal eyes blinked a couple of times as she moved to leave, but Rangiku moved to hug him closer to her and he let her.
Author's note – Well, this didn't turn out as well as I wanted it too.
Contests – I have a New Years contest, Valentines Contest and a Bleach Contest. All the contests except the Bleach one are open to all fandoms. There are a few other rules for each one. Hoping some people will participate.
Topic of the Week – I am starting a topic of the week thread for various fandoms, one of which is Bleach too.